It Never Goes Away

Now tell me, what springs to mind when I say, "Family holiday at the beach"?

Well, yes, there is the whining and the shouting, and the rain, and the endless card games with the nine year old, yes, but I was particularly thinking of the washing when you return home. The loads, and loads, and yet more loads of it. More washing by volume than the amount of clothing that we own. It is an extraordinary, and probably immutable law of nature, a suspension of the law of conservation of matter, only observed on the return home from a family holiday.

Never mind. There was also the vast expanse of wild empty sand that is your typical Tassie beach:

Encounters with oyster catchers:

Kite flying between showers and gales:

Catching mini crabs and having races with them - see all the bumps in the sand? Every one a mini crab burrow. And as many seagulls as Posy could chase, and seagulls being blown across the sand sideways in the wind, which is always amusing. Did I mention the wind?

Equinoctial gales still in full force.

Then after mountains of washing there is the prospect of restocking the pantry, because of course the other thing that family holidays mean is mountains of food. I swear I cooked for a week before we left, and the car was packed to the gunwhales, mostly with food (and books!) but now we somehow need another mountain of food.

I met Fran (serendipitously!) at the wholefoods shop, and we caught up on news. She is going to share her chooky eggs with me. Thanks Fran! Then I bumped into her again in the carpark at the vegie shop, because it's that kind of town, but I had to run along to be home in time to meet Posy when she got in from school.

Here is my slowly-heading-towards-plastic-free shop this week:

What I am lacking now is produce bags. I am tossing up between ordering recycled polypropylene mesh bags and making my own out of compostable cotton. Because I am a terrible procrastinator, I know that my chances of actually making bags are very, very slim. However, The Girl may make them for me for Christmas. If I am good. I could order the Onya bags today (recycled! Made in Australia!), but they can't be recycled again. I did email the owner, and he did let me know that he is still using the very first bags they ever made, some years ago. So that is good news.... probably a pointless argument using up precious head space, especially as I still drive a car everywhere. In the meantime, I reuse plastic produce bags which I (mostly) remember to take with me. And I reuse brown paper bags at the wholefoods shop, but yesterday I forgot, so had to use new ones to add to my large collection.

Here is a low waste shopping trip I read about this morning when I finally began reading the internet again. What do you know? It's still here!

Tip of the day: I just had lunch with a friend, who served up a yummy slow-cooked 'fridge-forage' soup with white beans and tomatoes as a base, and BRILLIANT touch - she lightly steams greens from the garden, chops them and stores covered in the fridge, then stirs a spoonful into the hot soup, so you get lovely bright greens in reheated soup, not old nasty brown greens, which is what I generally serve up the day after.


Anonymous said…
Hmm. I've never heard of oystercatchers! Learn something new everyday.

Sadly the days of family beach holidays are over for us. Our children are all growded up!!

I do love the suspension of the conservation of matter regarding washing! It is the same with paperwork. How can they take up more room after being used?

Looks like you all had a lovely time!!!
lucindasans, you need to HEAR oydtercatchers - they have the most wonderful peep-peep-peep call. they are a lovely bird to look at.
coming home after holidays is a lot of hard work! hope you had some good weather jo.
Jo said…
Lucinda, I never met an oyster catcher until I moved to Tas. Love the way they waddle, and yes, e, love the sound they make. And yes, we had some windows of good weather, between gales!
Linda said…
We have loads of oyster catchers on our beach in South Island, NZ. They always remind me of little old men!
Jo said…
Aren't they gorgeous Linda? I love watching them eat, and I'm sure they have little old man chats about today's selection of scallops and snails..
Do you have a pattern for the cotton produce bags? I save the plastic bags from the store, but I always forget to bring them, but maybe if I made my own bags, I'd bring them just to show off!

Heather said…
I love the tip!

I must be weird, because I love to do the mountains of laundry after a long trip. I just put all the suitcases by the washing machine and systematically do everyone's washing. I guess it just seems to be an easy way to unpack to me. It also gets rid of the campfire smell (we usually go tent camping for our travels) which seems to permeate everything by the end of a trip.
Anonymous said…
I remember my Home Economics teacher almost banging her head on the desk when forced to view my sad efforts at sewing. I am afraid it has been all downhill from there BUT Madeline can sew! She is a natural. She taught herself. She made an entire complicated costume to wear for a cos play in Hobart with a hideously complicated red velvet cape and she is my go-to sewing diva for anything that I need. I even bought her a sewing machine so that she could sew me things in the manner to which I have become accustomed ;). Here are a few tutorials for how to make produce bags with minimal effort. I like sustainability with minimal effort. It gives me more time to trawl Pinterest to find things like this ;). Sorry I got caught up with David but the ferments have taken over my body AND my brain. Apparently they have done the same with David...we are their willing slaves. The girls said "isn't that Jo going in to Youngs?" I had to go to Shiploads and missed you. If you were still there you could have helped me to carry my 3 enormous pumpkins...I almost dropped them...the girls were ready with the mobile phone but curiously couldn't get out of the car to assist... Glad to provide the eggs. Earl is rapidly approaching egg saturation ;). Here's those tutorials for how to make a produce bag out of a t-shirt...

Anonymous said…
I had scraps of fabric and some old sheets from which I made a stack of bags. They really were so very simple. I cut the biggest rectangles I could from the fabric scraps and rectangles about the sie of those break-after-one-use clear bags and then I just overlocked 3 of the edges. Where needed I overlocked around the opening to prevent fraying and that's it. They don't look posh but they do function. They add up to 10g weight to purchases and some places I've shopped will tare their scales first but honestly, I don't worry too much. I mean, how much is 10 out of 2kg of sultanas or dates?
I have a stack of long sheet bags I made up for an earthbag chook house but life and time intervened so the bags are sitting there taking up limited storage space. If you email me your address I should be able to find the time to convert the 2m long bags into something imminently more practical for shopping. :)
Jo said…
Frances, anything I ever sewed would definitely turn up everywhere for show-and-tell purposes!
And look, Fran and Jessie are right there for us. Thanks guys! The Girl has exams soon, and after that she can put her non-academic talents to use for the good of the planet. I like the idea of using up something I have rather than buying something new, however recycled it is.
Fran, I am so sad I missed the sight of you juggling pumpkins while your girls held their phones at the ready waiting for a funniest home video moment.
And Jessie, and earthbag chook house? Oh, you really have to build that, or at least send a link with photos. Who thinks up this stuff?
Heather, I am so impressed with your dedication to laundry. All I can seem to do when I get home is collapse into a shattered heap for several hours. Preferably days, but then everyone would run out of socks...
Barb. said…
I made/make bags from TShirts and singlets. I blogged about it back on 14 July.

Old ones of mine or ones from the op-shop. So easy, just a seam across the bottom BUt! you can cut and tie so no sewing needed. Make one today and you'll see how easy it is.

Tammy said…
That is how I normally feel after a trip: It all becomes focused on laundry and food shopping.

I'm glad you had a good time while away (and didn't get blown away!).

Thanks for sharing that tip about the greens! What a great way to not have them go all brown and nasty the next day!

So what books did you bring?
Barb. said…
That's not the meshy ones I wanted but I can't seem to find the post I want. Made from old curtains...Still easy and who cares if the seams aren't straight.

Barbara Good said…
One thing I am truly grateful of when we holiday at the family beach cabin is, despite the fact it is very small, is have a washing machine. I do a load every couple of days and with all the wind it gets dry pretty quickly and I return with clean clothes (mostly) instead of dirty ones. Of course if we go anywhere else I have the mountain on return. And there's so getting around the pantry restock, though I'm very impressed with your low waste shopping trip. I avoid the plastic produce bags too, usually opting for loose fruit and veg (which I'm sure drives the cashier insane chasing all those apples and tomatoes) or reusing paper or plastic (where absolutely necessary) bags. But I still haven't found a way of getting past some of the plastic packaging for things like pasta, noodles and rice.
Jo said…
Hi barb, I am totally impressed by the ingenuity of you all, and will (maybe) stop procrastinating and get onto those bags!
Tammy, I raided a friend's bookcase and took away her Georgette Heyer novels, such wonderful holiday reading! Also Barbara Kingsolver's new novel found its way into my hands via the library shelves..
Barbara, I have been buying the Barilla brand pasta which comes in cardboard boxes from a supermarket near you (always up on the top shelf for some reason, which maybe why a short person like me didn't notice it for so many years..). And I get rice from the bulk bins at the wholefood shop, reusing my paper bags, or basmati rice from the supermarket in the 5kg zip-up cloth bags (bottom shelf..).
Which gives me an idea. I must have a stack of those bags somewhere.

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